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In the all-new Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final installment of the popular series, join industry expert and award-winning author Deke McClelland for an in-depth tour of the most powerful and empowering features of Photoshop CS5. Discover the vast possibilities of traditional tools, such as masking and blend modes, and then delve into Smart Objects, Photomerge, as well as the new Puppet Warp, Mixer Brush, and HDR features. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.
I've saved my progress as Shapes so far, found inside the 27_pen_tool folder. Thus far, we have added a series of shapes in order to fill out the light bulb. We've got two rectangles, one vertical, one horizontal. We've got one ginormous circle, and then two smaller circles on either side of the vertical rectangle. In this exercise, we are going to begin subtracting from our shapes in order to create this contoured edge along the left side and the right side of the light bulb. Now, this is going to involve not only subtracting one shape from another, but it's also going to involve a little bit of transforming shapes, that is, scaling and rotating them.
When we get into the transformation territory, Photoshop starts having screen redraw problems. So, I'm just warning you about that upfront. If somehow you're not seeing what you should see on screen, just bear in mind that it's fairly normal behavior for the program right now. Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and scroll over to the left-hand side of the image a little bit. I'm going to grab my Ellipse tool, because we're going to be cutting a circle out of this area right there for starters. I'm going to switch to the Subtract Mode, so that we'd go about subtracting right off the bat from our existing shape.
So I'll switch to Subtract Mode. I should still see the Paths option selected. If it isn't selected for you, it may be because your vector mask is not active. So, make sure that it is here inside the Layers panel. Then, I'm going to drag with the tool like so, and I'm going to press the Shift key as I come in closer on that side of the shape, and I just forced an auto-scroll, which is unfortunate, because now I can't really see what I'm doing. But that's okay, once I get it more or less aligned like so, I'll go ahead and release, and I had the Shift key down the entire time, by the way, so I released the mouse button first, and then released the Shift key.
Sure enough, that circle is not big enough. I'm going to go ahead and select the Black Arrow tool, the Path Selection tool if you like. I'll click on the circle to select it. Then I'll go up to the Edit menu and I'll choose Free Transform Path. So notice as soon as you're working with a path outline, whether it's a shape outline what have you, it's going to say Free Transform Path to indicate that you're transforming a vector outline as opposed to pixels. It still has the same keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+T, Cmd+T on the Mac. I'm going to move the transformation origin over here to the right-hand point, so it snaps into alignment.
Then, while I drag this upper-left point, and I'm going to give myself a little more room to work, I'm going to press the Shift and Alt keys. The Shift key because I want to constrain the proportions to a circle, the Alt key or the Option key on a Mac, because I want to scale with respect to that transformation origin. All right, once I get about there, it looks like I have matched the edge pretty well. Now, this is a great example of how Photoshop does not keep up with your path outline transformations. It just doesn't. It's completely baffling, but it doesn't show things properly.
We are doing things properly, don't worry about that. It's just that the screen redraw is not keeping up. Now, you would expect that when you press the Enter key or the Return key in order to apply the transformation, then Photoshop would get with the program, but it doesn't. Now, notice over here in this little thumbnail, if you're seeing your thumbnails, and it very much helps to see them, which means that if you have smaller thumbnails going inside the Layers panel, I very much urge you to right-click in this lower region, where there are no layers, and choose Large Thumbnails. That way you can keep track of what's going on, at least a little bit, with your vector outlines.
Notice that I am cutting in just fine, so the screen redraw is out of whack. When I zoom out to a certain level, notice it shapes up. It says, oh yes! I'm sorry. That's where your edge really is. Unfortunately, when you zoom back in, it gets it wrong again. So, that's a little bit of a problem. We'll take care of it in a moment, but for now, we're just going to abide. I need to move this path outline over a little bit. I don't know what yours looks like, but mine is too far over to the left. So, I'm going to press the arrow key a couple of times to nudge it to the right like so, and then I'll zoom back out.
It looks like we've got this guy pretty much in the right position. We can always adjust that later once we get things roughed in a little bit, if we need to take that edge farther inward. Okay, what about this edge right there? Well, that remaining area from about here to about here is more or less a straight line, actually. So, I'm going to try to render it out using a rotated rectangle, which means it's going to require another transformation, which means we can anticipate further screen redraw issues.
But as I say, we'll take care of that momentarily. All right, so I'll switch over to the Rectangle tool, and then I'll just draw me a rectangle. It doesn't matter where it is, because it's nowhere near right. It should be set to Subtract though, which it is, so everything's good there. We're further subtracting from the shapes. I'll go back to my Black Arrow tool. I'll click on that rectangle in order to select it, and then I'll move it into position right there. It's that intersection that I'm looking for, I think. I think this is going to work out for us. Actually, it could be a little lower, couldn't it? I guess I'm going from the wrong area, I guess about right there is where the light bulb starts cutting away from that circle.
So that's what we want them at. We essentially want to create a straight edge that's tangent. In the case you don't know what tangent means, imagine that you have a straight line resting on a ball. That would be a tangent line, because it's just sitting on the ball, and the line is straight. So it's barely touching the circle of the ball. Anyway, it's right there. It'll cleave off of that circle and then meet onto that circle there. We're going to do that using, of course, the transformation. Now, you'll just have to take my word for it. This rectangle is still the same, because we can't see the corner points right now.
I'm going to press Ctrl+T or Cmd+T on the Mac to re-invoke that Free Transform command. I'm going to move my transformation origin right there, and then I'll move my cursor outside the rectangle and drag in order to rotate it until it comes into position at that location. So, this is a good tangent line, it looks to me. It just barely touches the top circle, and it just barely touches the bottom circle. Now, it goes too far. It cuts into the light bulb down right here, but I'm unconcerned with that because we can move the rectangle to a different location.
So, I'm going to press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac, and watch in disappointment and horror, as the screen does not redraw properly. All right, anyway, I'm now going to move my shape upward, because I still have the Black Arrow tool selected. I'll move it to about there, so that we still have a nice tangent edge, and lo and behold we still have a little bit of an issue up here. Now that's not Photoshop's problem. That's not a redraw problem. That's my problem. I need to solve it. I'm going to do so by transforming a shape, and I'll show you which shape it is that we're going to transform, as well as show you how to go about flipping and duplicating these shapes over here on the left-hand side in order to cut away this region on the right- hand side, in the next exercise.
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